Column: Downtown developments: Vacations less and less important

Las Vegas, Tahoe, the Bahamas and South Beach, just to name a few, were the hot spots for vacationers back in the day when normal people could afford to take a vacation.

What I mean by “normal” is a person who didn’t have to be on the Forbes list to be able to travel, and didn’t have to be rail-thin, carry a Birkin handbag, wear Louboutin shoes or have an entourage.

Of course, in the pre-rich days, one was discouraged if you wanted to bring children to Las Vegas; after all, it was an adult getaway spot. But now, they encourage people to bring their children. The more in the party, the more you spend, and it is all about the bottom line.

Back in the day, one could hit Miami Beach and see every type of person, from the snowbirds in their plaid shorts and sandals with socks, to the older ladies with big sun hats, sun shades and a bathing suit that was oft times ill-fitting but covered everything and were comfortable.

Now go to Miami Beach. You will soon realize that if you have no tan, a few extra pounds and your body is not quite as tight as it should be, you don’t want to even bother to get out of the car.

It’s the same in Vegas and in most other places these days; you must be dressed correctly and give the illusion of money and confidence to enter the world of the beautiful people. Every television commercial for a cruise or other vacation venue features beautiful, skinny people with beautiful children.

But don’t worry, if you can’t pull off one of those vacations, there is always Disney. It is by no means cheap, but everyone seems to blend in and enjoy the experiences together without worrying too much about how one looks.

One of the good things about vacations is choosing where to go. Over the years, there have been many places I’ve wanted to visit and have made all but one in the United States. That one is New York City.

Also over the years, the burning desire to go there has diminished somewhat. Maybe it is age creeping in, but I’d so much rather stay home, sit on the back deck watching the plethora of birds, piddling with my plants or be in downtown North Augusta than off with a bunch of strangers getting lost in a city that television has made scary.

The only reason I’d consider New York City now is for the restaurants and the opportunity to try the food of celebrity chefs – but here again is the financial factor.

The meals are not cheap and one must dress correctly to get into most of these places, and I do not fly. Besides, good chefs are getting closer to us all the time, and being home is just so much more relaxing.